A new study has made an incredible discovery about painkillers that could change how they're used.
A potentially groundbreaking new study finds that using opiod-based painkillers does something completely unexpected to rats.
These painkillers in fact actually prolong the pain in some cases, a surprising finding that indicates that humans may be unnecessarily causing themselves pain thinking they are actually fighting it, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder statement.
Researchers found that treating rats with morphine caused pain to continue for months.
The findings add to a collection of studies that suggest using opioid-based painkillers may be inferior compared to physical therapy, which helps patients recover faster.
The study found that patients who took opioids had their length of time for recovery after surgery doubled or even tripled.
While the drugs may work and provide great pain relief initiatilly, overtime its effectiveness lessens, and it may even induce the pain it is supposed to prevent.
The statement notes: “The team discovered that the pain signals from a peripheral injury combined with subsequent morphine treatment worked together to cause a glial cell signaling cascade. The cascade produces a cell signal from a protein called interleukin-1beta (IL-1b), which increases the activity of pain-responsive nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. That can cause increases in pain duration lasting several months.
“On the up side, the researchers have found ways to block specific receptors on glial cells that recognize opioids. This could allow for some pain relief while potentially preventing chronic pain. The team used a designer drug technology known as DREADD to selectively turn off targeted glial cells, something that has not been done before.”